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Although an experienced bandleader and musician, Dave’s forte has always been that of a songwriter.  He has over 700 copyrights registered with BMI. Those who have waxed his tunes include Dean Martin, Lou Rawls, Don Gibson, The Lettermen, Marty Robbins, Anne Murray, Eddy Arnold, Engelbert Humperdinck, Ray Price, Gene Vincent, Johnny Rivers, Bing Crosby and Glen Campbell, just to name a few.  During his short life, Rick Nelson recorded 10 of Dave’s compositions.

In addition to writing hit songs, Dave has produced not only The Champs, but Don McLean, Darlene Love and The Blossoms, and Marty Balin.

The Champs story begins in 1957. While employed as a Lancaster, California deejay, Dave wrote songs to pass the time.  His compositions “I’m Available” and “I’ll Be There” were both hits, and this success led him to Gene Autrey’s Challenge Records.  Dave was a solo artist at Challenge and also contributed guitar and vocal on various sessions.

One afternoon, with only 15 minutes of studio time remaining, Dave asked the other musicians if they could assist him with a B-side for his soon to be released “Train To Nowhere.”  The sax player offered a Les Baxter inspired sax-line, a snazzy riff was provided by the guitarist, the drummer clanged his cymbal bell on the backbeat, and Dave muted his guitar strings and strummed away.  Tequila was spoken in a low voice after each bridge and, in only a few minutes, they unknowingly provided Challenge Records with their biggest selling record!

The executives at Challenge decided to immediately release the song but the group needed a name.  The Champions was suggested, named after Gene Autrey’s horse, but ultimately the group became The Champs.  By March, 1958, “Tequila” topped both the Billboard Pop and R&B charts.  It sold in excess of a million copies and won the first ever Grammy for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance.

More hits for The Champs followed:  “The Midnighter,” “El Rancho Rock,” “Chariot Rock,” “Caramba,” “Too Much Tequila,” “Tequila Twist,” “Limbo Rock” and “Limbo Dance” all placed on the Billboard and/or Cash Box charts.

In 1965, after a bustling seven years, Dave called a halt and disbanded the group.  The Champs had a great run. At various times during it’s existence, members included Glen Campbell, Delaney Bramlett (Delaney and Bonnie), and Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts (Seals and Crofts).

Dave would move on to other projects. For over 40 years he has managed the publishing affairs of Hank Williams, Jr., creating a multi-million dollar business. He has also received numerous awards from ASCAP (7x) BMI (4x) and Cash Box (2x).

New album: Tequila Party, coming soon!  Dave states “I love the music business and love making music, no matter if it’s playing, producing or writing.  With Tequila Party, I was able to do all three and I’m extremely happy with the outcome.  The Champs have fans throughout the world and I hope they are as pleased with this record as I am.”

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